Rumsfeld orders air, land and marine forces to gulf

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has odered about 62,000 more US troops to head for the Persian Gulf region in coking days, doubling the size of the force now arrayed on the periphery of Iraq, two senior US officials said Saturday.

The movements make clear that the Pentagon intends to have sufficient force in place for an Iraq war as early as the first weeks of February, although the White House says President Bush has not decided to attack.

Just hours after officials disclosed on Friday that Rumsfeld had ordered nearly 35,000 troops, including two large Marine units, to ship out for a possible war with Iraq, the defense secretary signed another order to deploy 27,000 more troops, mainly Army and Air Force combat units.